“By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us, God of our salvation. You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth, of those who are far away on the sea.” Psalms 65:5
King David is one of my favorite persons in the Bible. Know why? He is just solid awesomeness. There is this sphere of faith and trust that surrounds him throughout his life that provides a model for us to follow. Even his screw-ups highlight how to seek forgiveness!
King David’s unique grasp and perspective on faith inspired his circle of friends, and even strangers, into action. In 2 Samuel (Chapter, verse ), we read about a time in David’s life where his complete trust and devotion in God really shines through the people he spends his time with the most.
Before we jump into this, I have to explain. This is no ordinary story. See, it is said that there were three incredible individuals that King David had with him when he would go on campaigns against the countries around him. They were so feared and famous, they were just referred to as “The Three.” Talk about power! People didn’t even want to say their true names because of how feared they were.
The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three. His story is not so exciting: it says he once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle. But then again, let me see you try to take out 800 warriors with just a spear (without it breaking, too!). (2 Samuel 23:8)
Next was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the lord gave him a great victory that day. (2 Samuel 23:9-10)
Last was Shammah son of Agee. One time the Philistines gathered and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the lord brought about a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:11-12)
See, the incredible thing about these men wasn’t their feats and achievements. It wasn’t even the blessings that God bestowed on them, either! It wasn’t that everyone revered them above others, nor was it that everyone feared them.
Their greatest victory was their faith.
To have the faith to step in front of 800 men, with just your spear and your God takes some guts. To stand alone with your crazy God-fearing, praise singing King while everyone else is tucking-tail and running away from the front lines takes some trust. To hold your ground in a field full of veggies may not seem that huge, but when you are the only one left to defend the front line, it takes some faith.
But this faith did not originate from within. They weren’t born with it. It came from the example of David.
One day, David was going up against an army of Philistines. They had captured his hometown, Bethlehem, and he was going to get it back. But then night came and they stopped at a stronghold beside the caves of Adullam. During this night, King David was looking longingly towards his hometown. I can imagine the feelings going through him at this time. Is his family safe? Are his old friends okay? I can imagine him examining his child-hood memories. And then he burst out with, “I really wish I could taste the sweet water from our well…”
Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.
David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the lord. “The lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
These men broke through enemy lines into an occupied town. Not for secret plans. Not to rescue a princess. Not even to steal priceless treasure. To get their friend a drink of water. But these men’s actions were not just brave for bravery’s sake. They loved David as a friend and were willing to do anything for him. And David loved them. David inspired faithfulness because he was faithful. He was faithful to God. He was faithful to his men.
All of us need faithful friends who will be there for us, looking out for our best interests and helping us in our direst moments. No. We are not kings fighting battles like David. But we are sons and daughters of God, the King of Kings. And there is a battle to tell the world about Jesus. Faithfulness might not mean fighting a physical battle, but it might mean bringing someone a drink of water.
It means seeing a need and meeting it. It means loaning things that your friends need, without them asking. It means hospitality. It means being there for your friends when they lose loved ones. It means giving extra money to the church when a disaster strikes, so that the church can respond quickly. No matter what the need is, a faithful friend will jump in to help. We need to be faithful friends and have faithful friends in our lives. Make sure that the people you are closest to are faithful friends and friends who are faithful to God.
“…pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22b (NLT),